Fernando Valenzuela of Los Angeles (1-6) came to the rescue by ending a four-game Dodger slide with a 4-1 win over the Mets. Earlier, a base-running blunder with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh contributed to a 9-8 loss in Philadelphia. Phillie Catcher Bo Diaz dropped a third strike to Ken Landreaux, who beat the throw to first. Bill Russell, who was on third, belatedly headed home during the confusing play, but was thrown out when First Baseman Pete Rose pegged the ball back to Diaz.
Don Sutton of Houston (3-3) improved his record to 6-1 by defeating Pittsburgh 7-3 and Chicago 4-1. Cincinnati (3-3) escaped the basement with the help of Tom Hume's two saves. But Greg Minton's pair of saves could not keep San Francisco (2-5) from dropping into the cellar.
Biff Pocoroba's first homer since 1980 propelled the Braves (3-3) past the Reds 2-1 and helped Atlanta stay in front of second-place San Diego (2-4), whose manager, Dick Williams, complained, "Suddenly, we can't execute or get our signs straight, and our bullpen has done an about-face." But Williams found no fault with sinkerballer Chris Welsh, who got 20 outs on grounders, pitched a four-hitter and drove in two runs while beating Montreal 6-2. A seven-run ninth then rallied the Padres past the Expos 8-2.
ATL 23-12 SD 18-15 LA 17-19 CIN 15-19 HOUS 15-21 SF 15-21
On May 1, the Phillies (7-0) were 6-14 and dead last. Since then they have won 13 of 14 games and have moved up to second place. Two nights in a row the Phils held off the Dodgers 9-8, winning the first game in the 10th when Greg Gross walked, stole second and scored on a single by Pete Rose, who hit .406. Rookie Bob Dernier stole his 18th base in a row before being caught and had seven swipes for the week. Dernier also slammed his first two home runs and contributed to Philadelphia's .314 batting spree by hitting .440. Bo Diaz, who had hit only 12 homers in his five previous big league seasons, slugged Nos. 7 and 8 of the year. There was also some dandy pitching. Dick Ruthven and Mike Krukow beat the Giants 8-1 and 6-1, respectively, Steve Carlton shut them out 2-0 on two hits. And Ron Reed, in his first start since 1977, went seven innings, drove in two runs and defeated Los Angeles 11-3.
New York (5-1) also surged. Bob Bailor's two-out, two-run pinch double in the ninth jolted the Padres 3-2. Charlie Puleo beat San Diego 6-0 with the help of Dave Kingman's 12th homer and four RBIs. Four RBIs by Hubie Brooks ripped Los Angeles 4-2. And on Sunday the Mets scored nine runs in the sixth inning and clobbered the Dodgers 13-4. Brooks had three hits in that laugher and Bailor had-two as he brought his average up to .368, second best in the league.
First-place St. Louis (3-3) and Pittsburgh (2-4) both won a pair of slugfests and lost key players. The Cardinals outlasted the Braves 10-9 and then two days later scored four times in the top of the 10th in Atlanta for a seemingly safe lead. But Manager Whitey Herzog had to call on his eighth pitcher of the day—starter Bob Forsch—to nail down a 7-6 triumph. Darrell Porter, though, was sidelined by a broken right index finger. Dave Parker of the Pirates was also injured, with a sprained right wrist. Not even a 5-0 deficit against Tom Seaver of the Reds could deter the Bucs once they got their attack going. They won that game 8-7 when Lee Lacy hit what should have been a grand slam but wound up being a three-run single after he passed a teammate on the bases. The next day Johnny Ray had five RBIs and winning pitcher Rick Rhoden doubled and homered during a nine-run third inning that took care of Cincinnati 12-9.
Tim Raines of the Expos (3-4) doubled in the decisive run in the eighth to knock off the Giants 5-4. For the week, Raines hit .448 and raised his average to .350.